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Spinach Apple Pecan Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette is such an easy fall salad! Perfect for holiday dinners like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but also easy enough as a side for a simple weeknight dinner!

Spinach apple salad with goats cheese and chopped candied pecans in a large white bowl, drizzled with apple cider vinaigrette.

A Simple Fall Apple Pecan Salad

When it comes to salads, I usually go for the fast and easy route like with my Simple Side Salad recipe. But sometimes, I want to make a salad a little more interesting and special. That is why I love making this Spinach Apple Pecan Salad for an elevated fall side salad. It is perfect on the Thanksgiving or Christmas table, but also nice to go along side a weeknight dinner. The Apple Cider Vinaigrette is similar to the one I used in my Autumn Harvest Salad a few years ago.

Ingredients for Apple Pecan Salad before assembling - a white bowl with baby spinach in it.  Two whole red apples (Fuji), a small 4 ounce log of soft goats cheese, a small white bowl of chopped candied pecans, a jar of prepared apple cider vinaigrette.

Ingredients for Spinach Apple Pecan Salad

  • Baby Spinach – you can really go with any greens here, but I like to use pre washed baby spinach to make this easy.
  • Apples – I like to use fuji or honeycrisp apples.
  • Soft goat cheese – also called chevre, I buy a 4 ounce log and then crumble it on top of the salad.
  • Candied Pecans – add a sweet and toasty crunch, I love adding these to salads. You can find these either in the nut section or often in the “salad topping” section near the produce in the grocery store.
  • Apple Cider Vinaigrette – this is what makes the salad extra special, see my easy recipe below!
Ingredients for apple cider vinaigrette - apple cider vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, smoked paprika and chili powder.

Easy Apple Cider Vinaigrette

  • Olive oil – the base of the dressing
  • Apple Cider vinegar – this is what adds tang and a nice fall flavor
  • Maple Syrup – adds some sweetness and flavor. Also balances the acidity of the vinegar.
  • Dijon mustard – just a little bit will help emulsify the dressing and adds some flavor as well.
  • Garlic – just one small clove, make sure it isn’t starting to sprout (a green center means it is starting to sprout) or it will be too bitter. Use a microplane or garlic press here.
  • Smoked Paprika – this adds a new dimension of flavor that I love
  • Chili Powder – another layer of flavor that is unique to this dressing
  • Salt and Pepper – the pepper might be optional, but the salt is not!
Spinach apple salad with goats cheese and chopped candied pecans in a large white bowl.

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Apple Pecan Fall Salad

Prep 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients 

For the Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove pressed or finely minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

For the Salad

  • 10 ounces baby spinach washed and dried
  • 2 apples thinly sliced
  • ½ cup candied pecans chopped
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese (chevre) crumbled

Instructions 

Make the dressing

  • Add all of the ingredients for the dressing to a small bowl, whisk until well combined. Set aside.

Assemble the salad

  • Place the spinach in a large bowl, if serving right away, toss in about a tablespoon of the dressing. If you are preparing this ahead of time, don't add the dressing until right before serving.
  • Add the sliced apples, pecans and crumbled goats cheese, drizzle on another tablespoon of dressing. Serve with the remaining dressing on the side, so dressing can be added to taste individually.

Notes

Make ahead – although components can be prepared ahead of time such as making the dressing and crumbling the cheese, I don’t recommend assembling the salad until just before serving.
 
Leftovers – this salad is best eaten right away, as the dressing will start to wilt the spinach, and the apples will turn brown. If you don’t mind that, the salad can be kept in a sealed container in the fridge for about 1 day.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 379mg | Potassium: 529mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 7088IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 135mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salads
Cuisine: American
Did you like this recipe?Please comment, rate and share! And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @foxandbriar AND #foxandbriar so I can see what you made!
Hello! I’m Meghan.

I am so glad that you are here! I am the recipe developer, photographer, and writer here at my blog Fox and Briar. I am a passionate, self-taught home cook and believe that most things are better homemade and that good food doesn’t need to be complicated.

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